416-7: House Passes Bipartisan Gosar Bill Restoring Competition in the Healthcare Market

For Immediate Release

Date: March 22, 2017

Contact: Steven D. Smith

Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House voted 416-7 in favor of legislation he sponsored H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017, a bill that would amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 to restore the application of federal anti-trust laws to the business of health insurance:

“Today, an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House joined me in taking a historic step to begin rebuilding America’s healthcare market. As a dentist for over 25 years, I know first-hand that restoring the application of federal antitrust laws to the business of health insurance is the key to unlocking greater competition in the marketplace. Making health insurance companies compete in a free-market will result in huge benefits for hospitals, doctors and most importantly, patients. History has always shown us that when we put the patient first and demand that health insurance companies compete for their business, premiums go down while quality goes up. I’m proud to have led this effort in the House and call on Senate leaders to take up this bipartisan legislation in a timely matter.”

“There are very few antitrust exemptions in this country, and for good reason. For decades, insurance companies have lived under a different set of rules than everyone else, and today the House has voted to bring health insurers back under the umbrella of our federal antitrust laws,” said Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08). “While this is not an end-all be-all to fixing our broken health care system, I strongly believe this piece of legislation is a big step forward in untangling the mess our health insurance marketplace has become and fulfilling our promise to create a marketplace that works for all Americans. ”

“The House today took an important step in ensuring robust competition among health insurance plans,” said American Dental Association President Gary Roberts. “Free market competition leads to lower costs, greater innovation and variety in the insurance marketplace. I have long appreciated Paul Gosar for his steadfast commitment to patient advocacy, and I thank him for his work on reforming the McCarran-Ferguson Act. Further, I want to thank every one of the 416 members of Congress who voted for H.R. 372 today.”

Background:

The full text of the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 can be found HERE.

Original Cosponsors (14): Brian Babin, D.D.S.; Dave Brat; Mo Brooks; Scott DesJarlais, M.D.; John Duncan; Walter B. Jones; Drew Ferguson, D.D.S.; Louie Gohmert; Steve King, Phil Roe, M.D.; Austin Scott; Lamar Smith; Robert Wittman; Ted Yoho.

The Congressman’s legislation is endorsed by: American Dental Association, American Optometric Association and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

The White House has released an official statement in support of The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act HERE.

The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 amends a section of the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, which exempted the insurance industry from the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act – acts that have the purpose of ensuring fair competition.  This broad exemption was intended to assist newly established insurance companies set sustainable premiums by permitting data sharing between insurance companies. These antiquated exemptions are no longer necessary. There is no reason in law, policy, or logic for the insurance industry to have special exemptions that are different from all other businesses in the United States.

Repeal of the specific sections of the McCarran-Ferguson Act which apply to health insurance has bipartisan support. A form of this legislation passed the Democratic-controlled House during the 111th Congress 406 - 19 (Roll no. 64) and passed the Republican-led House in the 112th Congress by a voice vote.

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